Absolute Carnage #1 (Marvel Comics)
It’s coming a little later this year, but we finally have this year’s major Marvel Summer event. Instead of a threat from beyond, this time the Marvel Universe is facing a Spidey-themed threat in the form of Carnage. Powered by the evil symbiote god Knull, Cletus Kasady is making up for lost time, and in Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman’s opening issue of Absolute Carnage, he’s making sure that everyone will remember his name.
Life’s been strange for Eddie Brock. Well, stranger than usual. Removed from his symbiote other, Brock has to take care of his estranged son (who doesn’t know he’s his son) while staying one step ahead of the police, who are on his trail for a being set up by Cletus Kasady. This would all go a lot smoother if Eddie still had his symbiote, but unlucky for him, it’s nowhere to be found, and Kasady is getting closer and closer to Eddie. But Kasady’s not only going after Eddie, he’s also going after every single person who’s ever worn a symbiote, which is quite a lot of people.
Donny Cates has hyped this event up a lot, and so far, he’s delivering the goods. His script succinctly recaps his run on Venom, and more importantly it sets up Carnage as an even bigger threat than he already is. There’s a strong sense of dread throughout the issue, and that comes from Cates’ carefully plotting the seeds for this event throughout his Venom run. Cates’ long-game strategy is paying off beautifully so far, and I can’t wait to see what other developments spring from it.
Ryan Stegman has been hard at work on this series, and it really shows. Stegman’s art has always been impressive, but it’s increased ten-fold with this issue. Stegman’s already impressive figure work and compositions are heightened, and they really make Cates’ script stand out. While Stegman’s Eddie Brock still looks physically imposing, he has an air of sadness to him that really comes through his body language. Brock’s clearly at his lowest point, but it’s going to be great seeing Stegman give him the heroic moment he deserves.
So far Marvel’s been on a pretty good streak with their big events, and it looks like Absolute Carnage will be another slam dunk for them. While it’s easy to jump into this event cold, you’ll probably get more if you read the start of Cates and Stegman’s Venom run, which is also pretty awesome to boot. For now though, Carnage has come calling, and it’s going to be hell for Marvel’s heroes.
Coffin Bound #1 (Image Comics)
A mix of Tim Burton and Mad Max, Coffin Bound is the latest title from Image Comics, and it’s pretty weird. Focusing on Izzy, a girl who’s being chased by an unstoppable creature called the Eartheater, the Dan Watters written, Dani drawn first issue is definitely one of the weirder comics on the stands. So weird, in fact, that it’s kind of hard to explain. There’s shades of David Lynch in this comic, but also grindhouse fare like Death Proof and a little bit of Evil Dead too. It leads to a book that’s pretty hard to follow, but definitely has it’s own unique style.
Watter’s script drops you right into the center of the action, and doesn’t give you a lot of time to find your footing. While usually I’m able to catch up pretty quickly, I don’t think this was the right call for this comic. Sure, dropping your reader into a universe is a viable way to start your story, but it has to be done in a specific way. Watters’ script just makes you feel disoriented, and it never really recovered for me.
Dani’s art is pretty pitch perfect for this issue. It fits the grindhouse style perfectly, and her weird monster designs are plenty creepy. Hopefully this book, which has a lot of hype around it, will help push her career onto more high profile books, as her work has a very unique look to it that seems to be plenty malleable for other genres.
While Coffin Bound didn’t quite work for me, I have to admit that it’s cool that it plays by its own set of rules. I’m sure this book will find plenty of people to give it a shot, and plenty more of them will want to keep up with it. As for me, it was a neat little diversion that unfortunately was not for me.
Event Leviathan #1 (DC Comics)
With the Summer officially kicking off, it’s time for the old comic book standby: major line-wide events. While the DC events typically veer into the universe encompassing mega stories, Event Leviathan is a more grounded one, detailing the secret agent side of the DC universe, which isn’t a big surprise when you see the names on the credits for the issue: Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev. Read the rest of this entry
Guardians of the Galaxy #1 (Marvel Comics)
Despite becoming household names thanks to their mega-successful movies, The Guardians of the Galaxy still can’t quite make it as a comic series. The Brian Michael Bendis run petered out after a few years, and the relaunch with Gerry Duggan and Aaron Kuder served as more of a tie-in to the Infinity Wars event than it’s own series. So what’s Marvel to do? Create a new team of Guardians with the creatives behind the mega-hit Thanos run, Donny Cates and artist Geoff Shaw. Read the rest of this entry
It’s always tough for the big two to introduce new characters and have them stick. However, Marvel’s had some pretty big success, starting with Kamala Khan’s Ms. Marvel, Spider-Gwen, and (unfortunately) Gwenpool. But for my money, the coolest new character they’ve introduced in some years is none other than the Cosmic Ghost Rider. Read the rest of this entry
Marvel Knights #1 (Marvel Comics)
Twenty years ago, Marvel launched the Marvel Knights imprint, and changed the publisher forever. Naturally with a big anniversary coming up, Marvel wants to capitalize on that nostalgia, and hiring Donny Cates and Travel Foreman to create the new Marvel Knights #1 is certainly a good way to celebrate. Focusing on an intriguing mystery that revolves around our favorite street-level heroes forgetting their true selves, this opening issue is really interesting, even if it doesn’t quite match up with what is happening in the other characters’ solo books. Read the rest of this entry
Venom #1 (Marvel Comics)
The Marvel relaunch train is gearing up, and after last week’s Avengers #1, we’ve now got the Lethal Protector himself, Venom, getting a brand new shiny #1. But like Earth’s Mightiest Heroes before him, the appeal of the creative team helps offset any quibbles one would have over the renumbering. Rising star Donny Cates is at the writing table, and Marvel artist supreme Ryan Stegman is handling the art, which means that we’re in for a very different, and very cool, new take on Venom. Read the rest of this entry
Holy crap, did you see that Infinity War trailer?
Go ahead; I’ll wait for to see it. No, for real, take a look. Read the rest of this entry
Doomsday Clock #1 (of 12) (DC Comics)
The hype around Doomsday Clock is certainly palpable. When the DC Universe unveiled the Rebirth initiative two years ago, it was all but assured that it would lead to the DC heroes meeting the characters from Watchmen, thanks to Doctor Manhattan screwing with time and causing the heroes to forget ten years of their lives and adventures. Today, it’s finally time to see just what Geoff Johns and Gary Frank have in store for the DC and Watchmen worlds with Doomsday Clock. But if you’re expecting to see Superman square off with Doctor Manhattan in this first issue, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Read the rest of this entry
Babyteeth #2 (Aftershock Comics)
The opening issue of Babyteeh sure had a lot of potential. Despite the usual “girl gives birth to the Antichrist” trope, Donny Cates and Garry Brown’s series had an interesting narrative system and compelling lead character to help set up the story. But one thing that was missing was the fleshing out of the world around Sadie. While we got to meet her, her child, and her immediate family, there wasn’t enough of the larger story to really make an impact. Luckily for us, Cates and Brown address that in issue two, and bring in some truly fantastic world building to the Babyteeth story. Read the rest of this entry
Babyteeth #1 (Aftershock Comics)
Aftershock Comics has been making quite the name for themselves lately. While they don’t have the volume of titles like Image or Dark Horse, they’ve been acquiring the kind of talent that definitely makes you stop and take notice. Their latest series, Babyteeth, is no exception. Co-created by God Country and Redneck writer Donny Cates, Babyteeth is a surprisingly sweet take on the old “girl gives birth to the Antichrist” story that we’ve seen plenty of times before in horror movies. Read the rest of this entry